Feb 28, 2010

Regular Guy Reviews: Great American Taxi - Reckless Habits

In the history of Farce the Music, I've only done about three proper reviews of albums. Usually, I'm laying on the derision and snarkiness and generally making a fool of myself and my subjects. In the past, I've felt as though doing reviews would be a sellout of the premise of FTM, but this year I've resolved that if I'm going to continue pointing out the shortcomings of mainstream music (country in particular), then I'm going to have to be a tiny bit of the solution as well.

Never you fear, FTM will not become a review site, a vehicle for genre promotion or a shill for any band that emails me an album. I just want to take a moment each month to let you know about some good music that's out there, usually beyond the mainstream.

You don't expect "the usual" from FTM, so don't expect the usual reviews. I doubt many of them will exceed twenty sentences. There will be no Pitchforkian references and no music-snob contempt for the reader or people who'd dare listen to commercial radio. There will be few five-dollar words. There will be no butt-kissing, despite the fact that I'll only be writing about stuff I enjoy.

While I did well in my college English courses, I am not a trained writer, nor a music historian by any stretch of the imagination. I just love good music. As such, you can expect pretty "regular guy" reviews here. The only difference is that my taste skews a little left of center from the average joe... but that's where a lot of the best music is. I know what I like and I'll try to convey that to you and hopefully you'll find something you never knew you'd enjoy!

As I stated earlier, these will only be once or twice a month, tops. Here's the first!

Great American Taxi - Reckless Habits
Release: Tuesday, March 2

This is good-time music... sitting at a Bourbon Street bar, sipping a pale ale with sweat dripping down your cheek, tapping your foot to the tune without a worry in the world music.

It's a laid back and loose session, skillfully reined by great musicianship. Country, bar rock, jazz, bluegrass, country rock and jam band are all hanging together under the big tent of Reckless Habits. There's a little twang for the hicks, a little sonic stew for the hippies and a lot of fun for us all. I hear 70's Jimmy Buffet, Grateful Dead by way of The Byrds, some Dr. John and early Wilco in their music.

"One of These Days" leads off the album with an ode to the Big Easy. It's a piano plunking, trumpet punctuated singalong that rolls along like the paddlewheel of a riverboat. Speaking of Wilco, Great American Taxi turns in a fantastic take on (members of Wilco's former band) Uncle Tupelo's "New Madrid," giving it a more thoughtful emotional context. "Unpromised Land" wouldn't sound out of place on a Steeldrivers album, with its rollicking, banjo-driven newgrass. The title track is a steel guitar laden country song that wouldn't sound out of place on a honky-tonk jukebox. Even the most lightweight song on the album, "Tough Job," still makes you want to get up and shake a buzzed leg.

Reckless Habits is a swampy boogie, entertaining enough to likely be accessible to all but the most mainstream of tastes. Fans of the Black Crowes, Widespread Panic, Old Crow Medicine Show, Delbert McClinton, Gram Parsons and Dr. John should definitely grant this record an ear.

Free, legal download: One of These Days

Favorites of 2010 So Far: February

1. Joe Pug - Messenger
2. Kasey Anderson - Nowhere Nights
3. Retribution Gospel Choir - 2
4. Great American Taxi - Reckless Habits
5. Surfer Blood - Astro Coast
6. Tim Barry - 28th & Stonewall
7. Johnny Cash - American VI: Ain't No Grave
8. Reckless Kelly - Somewhere in Time
9. Ray Wylie Hubbard - A. Enlightenment B. Endarkenment (Hint: There Is No C)
10. Butch Walker and the Black Widows - I Liked It Better When You Had No Heart
11. Carolina Chocolate Drops - Genuine Negro Jig
12. Freedy Johnston - Rain on the City
13. Rogue Wave - Permalight
14. I See Hawks in L.A. - Should've Been Gold
15. The Brothers Comatose - Songs from the Stoop
16. Gil Scott-Heron - I'm New Here
17. Whispering Pines - Family Tree
18. Spoon - Transference
19. Vampire Weekend - Contra
20. The Honey Dewdrops - If the Sun Will Shine

Feb 26, 2010

YouTube Gems: Rodney Hayden

Seems only appropriate on Rodney and Johnny's birthday (and mine!):

Feb 25, 2010

You know those annoying ads on the side of most blogs and sites?

Here's the countryfied version:

Songs Illustrated #14

John Rich's Songwriting Tips #30

Don't sell out. Set your writing principals right up front and stand by them. Believe it or not, this one's set in stone for me. I will never compromise myself from the belief that you should only write schlock, dreck, trite crap... whatever it takes to keep them royalty checks filling up your gold-plated mailbox at the end of your dogwood lined brick driveway. No way in the pit of Hades would I stoop to writing story songs, Americana, alt-anything or something with literary references. Porn references maybe. Live by this creed: Dance with the bitch that brung ya.

*Not actually written by John Rich.

Feb 22, 2010

Sorry to hear about this...

Arista Nashville Drops Sarah Jessica Parker

Bubba Downer Debunks #2

.99 Review: Emily West

.99 Review: Emily West - Blue Sky (feat. Keith Urban)

The People's Take:

AhhhMAzing! (5 Stars) - LOVE IT! LOVE HER!I live in Nashville and see so many unappreciated, amazingly talented artists that deserve to be heard...Emily West is one of them. I think her time has come and she is on the verge of being a big, big star!!!! Such a beautiful song!!! GET THIS SONG NOW!!!!! PS if you ever get the chance to see her live - GO! She is so much fun and great in convert!!!!

- Hunk Of Burnin' Love

Calm Down.... (3 Stars) - Emily West is the next Faith Hill! But she has horrible stage presence. Saw her open for Luke Bryan at Joe's in Chicago and she was extremely hard to take seriously. Amazing vocals. Just wish she'd calm down and let the audience enjoy it. Can't wait to see what she grows into though. Keep an eye on this one!

- Anonymous5124

My Take:

A new female artist releasing a sparse, sad ballad at a time when new female singers aren't exactly filling the Top 40 is a questionable career choice to say the least. Adding Keith Urban as a backup vocalist (and a prominent name on the song title) doesn't hurt prospects, but still, if it's not an exceptional song, one of this ilk would likely be on and off the charts inside a month.

Happily, this is an exceptional song, well written and beautifully performed by one of Nashville's most engaging young talents. Emily West has become known early in her career as funny and frankly honest, so one might expect her to be more suited for Brad Paisley-style laughers and chick-attitude songs. With Blue Sky, she proves to be quite adept at a tearjerker without artificially pulling the heartstrings with overdone high notes and overwritten lyrics.

Here, West informs a cheating lover that she can't be his blue sky, his happiness, anymore. Her voice also reveals that her own blue sky is now obscured by storm clouds. She wills the metaphor to sound fresh where it would have fallen flat coming from a lesser vocalist.

Hopefully, "Blue Sky" is only the beginning for Ms. West. Along with Sarah Buxton, she may finally break through Nashville's recent glass ceiling for performers of the fairer sex not named Taylor Swift.

Blue Sky isn't particularly country. It fits into the current definition of mainstream country comfortably, but sets itself apart with strong song craft and powerful vocals, making it the highest rated single thus far on "Ninety-Nine Cent Reviews."

Total Value: .86/.99

(Foregoing the checklist for this edition)

Feb 19, 2010

YouTube Gems: Artimus Pyledriver

Blistering redneck stoner metal! Throat shredding vocals! Beards, long hair and fast cars! What more do you need???

Feb 18, 2010

Introducing Bubba Downer

Bubba Downer is a moderately educated, highly opinionated, quite negative, philosophizing, unemployed redneck cartoonist (you'll see why) who is out to deflate the myths and ideals of commercial country music and country living one cartoon at a time. Possibly, this is another reason he's unemployed, but we appreciate his services as his M.O. closely resembles one of FTM's unpublished mission statements.

Here's Bubba's first cartoon:

Feb 17, 2010

John Rich's Songwriting Tips #29

Go to church. I enter the hallowed halls of my local Baptist church for 2 reasons: 1) hot MILFs in tight black dress pants & 2) to learn the themes and symbolism of Christianity. #1 is a no-brainer. #2 helps you write songs that are seemingly about people who are shit out of luck in life but then you turn it all around with big baby Jesus in the last chorus. Bingo: easy money top 10 hit! And another tip: next time you're writing a song, think WWJRD?

*Not actually written by John Rich.

Feb 15, 2010

Next post:

Country Day: February - featuring parody album covers from Brad Paisley, Lady Antebellum, Martina McBride and more! Be here or else!

FWC&G: Carrie U.

Feb 14, 2010

Top 10 Endeavors John Carter Cash is Thinking of Licensing Johnny's Name To

10. Jumping Johnny Energy Drink

9. Man in Black African American Hair Products

8. Johnny Cash Money Clips

6. Johnny & June Passion Parties

5. "Jackson" Pepper Sauce

4. "Chicken in Black" Frozen Blackened Chicken Meals

3. Get Rhythm Wii Game

2. Folsom Prison Blues Blue Jeans

1. Johnny Cash & Dash Check Service

Feb 12, 2010

YouTube Gems: Surfer Blood

One of my favorite new discoveries of 2010 is Florida's Surfer Blood, an indie rock band with a cool surf rock/power pop sound. If you like Pavement, early Weezer, The Pixies or even possibly the Beach Boys, you might give these guys a try.

And what is this? An actual scripted, creative, interesting (and odd) video? What is this, the 90's? Here's "Swim" -

Feb 10, 2010

FTM Interviews Kasey Anderson

FTM pal/ninebullets.net contributor Kasey Anderson's album Nowhere Nights hits shelves next week (it's already out at digital outlets, including iTunes) and FTM is there to ask some hard hitting questions about his influences and the new album.

For those who haven't heard him before, the music is good ol' roots rock with a broad everyman appeal. Kasey's voice is a mix of Jack Ingram, John Mellencamp and Cody Canada, in short, a perfect voice for this style of music. His music sometimes resembles Ryan Adams at his most interesting, The Replacements at their most straightforward and a dash of Gin Blossoms style pop rock. Bruce Springsteen, Will Hoge and Tom Petty also spring to mind. But while his music recalls all those sounds, this album is entirely Kasey. He's a great lyricist and his melodies and hooks will burrow into your brain.

You can download the title track for free right here: Nowhere Nights.

Now let's get to know Kasey a little better in FTM's very first Farce the Music Interview, as the singer/songwriter is interviewed by... himself.

Kasey Anderson's Convenient Truths: The Farce the Music Interview

Alright, tape is rolling so everything from here on out is on the record.

KASEY ANDERSON: You don't own a tape recorder.

FTM: It's a figure of speech.

KA: No, it isn't.

FTM: You've built a reputation as being quite eccentric. Why do you think that is?

KA: It could be the amount of asparagus I eat - there's that smell about me, it confuses and arouses people. It could be my penchant for taking a six-hour nap immediately after waking up in the morning. It could be the fact that I own seven copies of every film Nick Nolte has ever appeared in. There's something about that number. Seven. People can't get their minds around it.

FTM: It does have a sort of mystical, biblical connotation to it.

KA: Right. Seven books of the Bible...

FTM: There are 66 books in the Bible.

KA: Which is divisible by seven. You get a remainder, but...

FTM: Moving on. You've been quoted as saying your first album, Dead Roses, was you "learning how to write songs while tape rolled." How did that experience shape your writing?

KA: That was a literal statement. I had never used paper and pen to transcribe lyrics prior to those sessions. The walls of my apartment were covered in crayon.

FTM: You wrote songs in crayon on your walls?

KA: What? No. I'm sorry. Those two statements were not related. I used body heat to write with my fingers on Hypercolor shirts. That's how I remembered songs.

FTM: Wouldn't that fade?

KA: Doesn't everything?

FTM: How profound. Your second album, The Reckoning, was largely political. How do you feel about what has transpired in the country since 2007, when The Reckoning was released? Have you seen changes?

KA: I have. We all have. You'd have to be blind, deaf, and dumb not to. The 2008 election was a very proud moment for the United States but you start to wonder if electing a new president isn't a little bit like mopping the floor of a burning house. There's a lot of work still needs to be done. We'll get there, but we need leadership, not pandering.

FTM: Nowhere Nights is almost entirely autobiographical. What inspired you to write a record almost entirely about yourself?

KA: A friend was borrowing all of my mirrors.

FTM: The album follows you as you leave Bellingham, Washington, where you lived for ten years. Do you miss it?

KA: No. But the album is not so much about leaving a place as it is about leaving a life. There's that saying, "Wherever you go, there you are," which I really hate because a lot of those people, they move very slowly and they're in my way. I have errands, you know? I have to get to the post office before 3:00 P.M. or the best stamps are gone.

FTM: Right. Of course. How do you feel about "New Country," or "Young Country" music?

KA: A lot of it is catchy but then, so is syphilis.

FTM: A lot of songwriters have checkered pasts; yours is shrouded in mystery. Have you ever had any trouble with the law?

KA: Man's Law, God's Law, Seth's Law, Murphy's Law, Law and Order.

FTM: Isn't that a Zach Galifianakis bit?

KA: The guy from Out Cold?

FTM: Among others, yes.

KA: Never heard of him.

FTM: How do you write? Take us inside the process.

KA: Lately what I have been doing is spending most of the day at the DMV, transcribing people's conversations. Real, slice-of-life stuff. Like Carver.

FTM: Raymond Carver?

KA: I'm sorry, McCarver. Tim McCarver. The broadcaster. McCarver, Joe Buck, Joe Morgan. These are the true modern masters of the English language.

FTM: Anywhere else you find inspiration?

KA: Old shoes, picture postcards...

FTM: That's the title of Tom Waits song. You lifted that directly from Tom Waits.

KA: The guy from Mystery Men?

FTM: Sure. Pretty good songwriter, too.

KA: I don't know who that is.

FTM: Fine. Last question: You'll be on tour for most of 2010. Do you subscribe to the belief that a rolling stone gathers no moss?

KA: Oh, sure. But I have a lamp that's 50 years old that hasn't gathered any moss, either. So maybe I should just stand in one place and let my light shine.

FTM: Wow. That's pretty deep.

KA: I think it's from an old Carrot Top bit.

FTM: The guy from Chairman of the Board?

KA: Exactly.

Feb 9, 2010

Suggested new logos for country artists

FTM is always there for country stars. Here are some suggested new logos for come country singers and bands that we feel better represent them than their current artwork. Free of charge...you're welcome guys/girls! Click for a closer view.

Feb 7, 2010

Top 10 Ways Today Resembled a Fairy Tale*

10. Bed had a lump in it

9. Was accosted by wicked witch

8. Climbed beanstalk, busted ass

7. Wished frog was a prince

6. Cleaned house, talked to rats

5. Grumpy husband complained about porridge for supper

4. Lied & smoked cigarettes

3. Wanted to lie down and sleep for 20 years

2. Fattened up children with junk food and candy

1. Angry old man forced me to do hard labor

*Based on a survey of 2,000 non-country singer millionaire females

Something you will not be seeing at today's Super Bowl

Feb 6, 2010


Farce the Music passed the 100K hit mark sometime last night (not counting the previous incarnation of the blog, Photocrap), most of that coming in the last 4 months. I just wanted to thank you for visiting and revisiting this goofy spot on the Interwebs. I never thought it would last this long, much less get such a consistent following.

As a tiny token of my thanks, I've got a brand new Lucero - 1372 Overton Park or Miranda Lambert - Revolution (by brand new, I mean, only opened to look at the artwork) CD for the first person to send me (photocrapper at gmail.com) or post a link (in the comments) to an album cover I've never farced and need to. Also, for the second successful submission, I'll give you the remaining CD if you want it.

Thanks again everybody!

Feb 5, 2010

YouTube Gems: Great American Taxi

Here's Great American Taxi with "One of These Days." More on this band and their new album in upcoming weeks.

Feb 4, 2010

New item for sale in the non-existent FTM store!

You've seen the "Jesus is My Homeboy" and possibly the "Breesus is My Homeboy" t-shirts. Well, now Farce the Music doesn't have a new item of apparel perfect for all you fans of "the cowboy Stevie Wonder!"
Sizes not available: S-3X
Price: $0 + $29.95 (s&h)

FWC&G: Kenny Rogers

Click for a closer view.

Feb 3, 2010

A satirical country lyric

If You Say I'm Not a Country Boy

If you say I'm not a country boy
I'll show you that's a lie
I'll crank my truck and shoot a duck
And spit Beechnut in your eye

If you say I'm not a country boy
You 'bout to learn the facts
I'll play some Hank and drink a drank
And wear jeans that show my crack

So don't you go and disrespect
Homie I'll put your *ss in check
Ride up in my one-five-oh
Leave you bleeding on the flo'
Singin' "Oh you didn't know?"

If you say I'm not a country boy
Better own a graveyard plot
I'm country bred, my neck is red
And I'll leave yo wangsta' ass shot

(Repeat Chorus)

Never mind these hip-hop beats
And these urban dictionary words
Cause I'm country as Strait
Got a Nascar plate
And I can whistle dixie, ya' heard?

So, think twice before you disrespect
Hater, you best come correct
Ride up in my one-five-oh
Leave you bleeding on the flo'
Singin' "Oh you didn't know?"

If you say I'm not a country boy
Say I'm not, b*tch!
Oh no you dih–int!!

©2010 Corey Parkman

A Closer Look: Soulja Boy

Click for a closer view.


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